The weather has been really nice here in SF over the past few days---not your typical bleak, windy, fog-enshrouded June. Time to break out the BBQ. Before your eyes glaze over---this wasn't your _typical_ BBQ, I decided to try out a grilled pizza recipe I clipped a while back--and yes, I was skeptical. I've damn near perfected the oven baked thin-crust pizza, and I wasn't sure this variation was going to be worth the effort.
First off I had to get the dough ready. It was a basic pizza dough made with warm water, flour, a bit of sugar, salt, and active dry yeast. You mix it all up for a few minutes, let it rise in a warm cozy place, punch it, then divide it into four little balls.
Nothing out of the ordinary so far. From here on out you kind of treat the dough as you would tart dough.
You roll out each of the four dough balls into 10-inch flat rounds with a rolling pin. You stack them on a cookie sheet, topping each round with a layer of plastic wrap to prevent stickage. Put it back in the fridge for about an hour.
The toppings for this pizza were thin rounds of yellow summer squash, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh thyme. Makes for a pretty pizza. With a grilled pizza it became apparent very fast that you need toppings that can cook in a flash.
I think it helps if the grill is clean, at any rate, it was a good excuse to clean it. I brushed a bit of garlic olive oil on one of the rounds, and threw it directly on the grill. Then quickly put the lid back on the BBQ. Now here is where it got tricky, you have to watch your pizza like a hawk, because it can burn up in no time if you aren't careful. My pizza got golden and bubbly in about 3-4 minutes, so I flipped it, tossed on my toppings, covered it back up and waited a couple short minutes while the other side browned, the mozzarella melted, and the squash cooked.
This was unlike any other pizza Ive ever tasted. It was hot, hot, hot coming off the grill, and had a wonderful grilled taste to it. It wasn't doughy like many pizzas, it had more of the consistency of a crisp, bready nan bread with toppings. The minimal toppings were oozy and flavorful (the garlic olive oil was stunningly good with the melted mozzarella).
This pizza makes a nice light dinner, perfect for a summer night. The cooking time was faster than say a thin-crust pizza made in the oven by about half. You can throw one pizza after another on the grill until you are full, and save the rest of the dough for lunch or dinner over the next few days.
I won't retire my other pizza recipes, but will certainly add this to the repertoire. There is something really fun about throwing a pizza on the grill. Next time we have friends over on a nice night, I will chill up a stack of the pizza dough, and set up a pizza topping bar outside where people can build their own right on the patio.
To feature an actual recipe taken from a cookbook, it is best to request permission from the publisher or author. In the early days on 101 Cookbooks, I would tell people where to find the recipe, but not feature the recipe itself. Eventually I began to request permission to run the actual recipes, but this wasn't one of them. The majority of entries on 101 Cookbooks will have the recipes attached, this just happens to be one of the ones that doesn't. My apologies!
From Gourmet: July 1996